Coastal landscapes, sustainable consumption and peripheral communities: Evaluating the Miramar Resort controversy in Shanyuan Bay, Taiwan

Huang, Yi-Chen and Mabon, Leslie (2021). Coastal landscapes, sustainable consumption and peripheral communities: Evaluating the Miramar Resort controversy in Shanyuan Bay, Taiwan. Marine Policy, 123, article no. 104283.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpol.2020.104283

Abstract

This paper elaborates challenges for sustainable development based on consumption of the coastal environment through tourism, evaluating the case of the Miramar Resort in Taitung County, Taiwan. Thinking in terms of the blue economy and more sensitive forms of tourism and recreation that consider environmental protection have laid focus on the idea that the coastal environment may be ‘consumed’, yet that this consumption needs to fit with the principles of sustainability. The purpose of this paper is thus to evaluate what sustainable consumption of the coastal environment may (or may not) look like in a locality facing competing social, economic and environmental sustainability pressures, specifically Taitung County in Taiwan. We conduct in-depth interviews with key actors involved in the dispute over the construction of the Miramar Resort in Taitung, and assess these through the conceptual lens of sustainable consumption. Our study finds significant contestation over the developer and local government claims that the resort represents a sustainable trajectory for the locality, with differing views on environmental impact, fairness of process, and distribution of economic benefit. In a wider context, these findings illustrate the importance of inclusive and meaningful decision-making processes, shared end goals, and good support for local-level coastal managers and planners if consumption-driven developments are to form part of sustainable local development in peripheral coastal regions.

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